MLB Rumors

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Braves' Tanner Murphy drawing praise from bullpen coach
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Braves catcher Tanner Murphy is feeling the love this spring. The second-year player is being tabbed by bullpen coach Eddie Perez as the guy to watch in spring training.

"He's my number one guy so far," Perez said. "It's nice to have somebody like him because you don't know what's going to happen. When you look at this kid, you know something good is going to happen."

Murphy played just 82 games of rookie ball last year.

"He's got some talent and he's got some ability," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I saw him throw to the bases. (Catching instructor) Joe Breeden has seen him the most and Joe likes him a lot."

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Jim Henderson throws off mound Sunday where season ended last year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Brewers pitcher Jim Henderson completed his first session against live batters Sunday and felt a weight lift off his shoulders, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"That same mound I threw on just now was the same mound that I realized the season was over on last year, so I was thinking about that when I got out there," Henderson said.

"I was like, ‘Forget this mound.’ It was kind of one of those moments where it was like this is where it ended and this is where it's going to begin again."

Henderson threw against three batters in Sunday's practice.

"It went well," he said. "It was just more of getting the feel out there today. Seeing the hitters and getting on a game mound again, just trying to get the feel back. That’s what I was looking for out of it – that competitiveness – and that’s what I got out of it."

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Cubs' Joe Maddon impressed by Kris Bryant
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said third baseman Kris Bryant has been one of the most impressive position players this spring, reports MLB.com

"He's solid, he's motivated," Maddon said. "He's got a really nice way about him. He's really good, he knows he's really good, but he carries that very well. I like that. False humility doesn't do anything. It's kind of a worthless quality. I think his humility is sincere, but he also knows that he's good."

Despite Maddon's endorsement of Bryant, Maddon would not commit to Bryant making the Opening Day roster.

"Somewhere," Maddon said. "There's all kinds of Opening Days."

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Nationals' Nate McLouth nearly done with throwing program
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth is getting towards the end of his throwing program to rehab his injured shoulder, reports MLB.com. But, manager Matt Williams doesn't want to take any chances with the injury flaring back up for McLouth.

"Once he gets sore, then we got to shut him down for a few days," Williams said. "So we don't want to get there."

McLouth is recovering from shoulder surgery that took place in August to repair a torn labrum. He is getting close to adding more distance to long toss.

"It doesn't hurt, and nothing I've done has made it hurt at all," McLouth said. "So it's fine. Now it's just a matter of getting more distance."

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Nationals' Bryce Harper says he has to step up production
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

With the Nationals losing first baseman Adam LaRoche to free agency, outfielder Bryce Harper knows he needs to increase his production, reports MLB.com.

"I'll help out for sure," Harper said. "After losing LaRoche, I have to step up a little bit. I have to do what I need to do. Our pitching is going to take us to the top, hopefully, but we still have to have offense. We have to do the things we need to do. I'm ready to go. I'll be feeling good."

Harper said the key to his success in 2015 will be sticking to his approach and not trying to overdo it.

"I have to see what [pitchers] are going to do to me, see how they approach me, really just working my pitch and not go out of my comfort zone," Harper said. "If I can do that, stay within myself and have a little bit of fun at the plate, that will go a long way."

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Orioles' Jason Garcia turns heads in spring training debut Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Orioles pitcher Jason Garcia is battling to make the major-league roster this spring. If Sunday was any indication, he's got a good chance.

"He got a couple of our guys from the bench up to the top step," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Garcia threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts in the team's intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.

"It felt good. It's what you work for, throwing against those guys," Garcia said, who has never pitched above the Triple-A level. "Definitely it was a thrill. Pretty nervous out there, but it was awesome."

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Braves' Todd Cunningham confident in ability to replace Upton
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

Braves outfielder Todd Cunningham believes he is the perfect replacement to fill in for Melvin Upton, reports MLB.com.

"You can call me the safe bet," Cunningham said. "You can say I'm not the sexy pick or whatever you want. But I still feel I can personally bring a lot of value to a team. So, if I get a chance to compete out there, I plan to bring everything that I've got."

He added that he doesn't have one particular skill that sets him apart, but he is a good all-around player.

"I'm definitely not trying to trick anybody and I'm definitely not trying to be anything that I'm not," Cunningham said. "When I describe what kind of player I am, I wasn't gifted with unbelievable pop or blazing speed. I pride myself on doing the little things. From what I've heard, I'm the kind of player that the more you see me, the more you like me."

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Dodgers' Alex Guerrero not planning to return to the minor leagues
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Dodgers second baseman Alex Guerrero is not playing to return to the minor leagues this season, reports MLB.com. The way that Guerrero's contract is constructed, the Dodgers cannot send Guerrero down to the minors without his permission.

"The team does not know what they are going to do, but all I can control is keep working hard and they will get the final word," Guerrero said. "I don't want to go down. I'm not going down. I feel like I can get better here at this level and play every day. I think that's what every player wants. You want to be in the Major Leagues and play as much as you can.

Guerrero only appeared in 11 games with Los Angeles in 2014, getting one hit in 13 at-bats.

"I just want to keep working hard and let my work speak for me," Guerrero continued. "I'm just being told to keep working hard and I feel like I'm getting better every day."

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Mariners' McClendon: Fewer games for Austin Jackson in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com

Don't expect for Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson to play 154 games in 2015. 

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is hoping to keep Jackson fresh for the entire season and doesn't want to burn him out. After only sitting out eight games a year ago with both the Tigers and the Mariners, McClendon is expecting for Jackson to play in fewer games during the upcoming season. 

"He played 154 games last year; that's too many for a center fielder with his frame," McClendon said, per MLB.com. "It wears you down. We're going to do our best to knock that number down a bit."

In his five-year career, Jackson has hit .274. Jackson played 100 games for the Tigers in 2014 before being dealt to the Mariners, in the middle of a game against the White Sox, just before the MLB trade deadline. 

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Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker to start Cactus League opener
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com

Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker will be given the nod for Seattle when the team makes the Cactus League debut Wednesday against the Padres, reports MLB.com.

Walker is battling with Roenis Elias for the final spot in the Mariners' rotation when the season begins. Walker admits to being a little banged up early last season.

"I wasn't available to do anything -- I wasn't even playing catch [at this time last year]," Walker said before the Mariners' workout Sunday morning. "So to be able to start a game in spring and actually have a Spring Training feels good."

Walker posted a 2-3 record with a 2.61 ERA in 38 innings in 2014 and hopes he can make an impression with his start Wednesday.

"It's a game, and it's a competition," Walker said. "I'm just going to go out there and do the best that I can. So if that means I have to go out there and go full speed, then I will."

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